The Cheltenham Gold Cup is under a month away and preparations for the big horse race have been ratcheted up. New storylines have emerged in the build-up to the race as trainers, jockeys, and horses get ready for the March 15th race. The race’s competitors will race for a prize fund of £600,000. Horse racing fans can enjoy the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but may also wonder which are the Grand National favourites at this year’s event at Aintree? With the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the horizon, what should bettors be looking out for on the racetrack?
Presenting Percy misses Red Mills Chase
Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite, Presenting Percy, was expected to run in his second race of 2019 at the Red Mills Chase. The horse won his first race of 2019 back in January. Presenting Percy’s win came at Ireland’s Gowran Park, the site of February 16th‘s Red Mills Chase.
Trainer Pat Kelly had planned the race to be Presenting Percy’s warm-up for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, Kelly pulled the horse out of contention as only four runners were entered in the Red Mills Chase. Presenting Percy had nothing to gain and everything to lose had he run at Gowran Park.
In the build-up to Presenting Percy’s win at Cheltenham last year, he ran twice at Gowran Park winning once and finishing runner-up in his other race. Presenting Percy is the current Cheltenham Gold Cup odds favourite at 11/4.
Definitely Red headed to Cheltenham Gold Cup feeling blue
Definitely Red was headed to the Cheltenham Gold Cup with plenty of excitement. However, some of that excitement was curbed following Definitely Red’s second-place finish at Kelso on Valentine’s Day. Leading sportsbooks now have Definitely Red listed at 50/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Definitely Red had won his two prior races to finish off 2018 at Wetherby and Aintree.
Captain Red Beard defeated Definitely Red at Kelso. The former is a hopeful for the Grand National at Aintree. Trainer Brian Ellison had initially considered taking Definitely Red straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, bypassing the Malcolm Jefferson Memorial Chase. However, the trainer was swayed by the lucrative £25,000 prize at Kelso. It may be a decision he regrets once the Cheltenham Gold Cup kicks off.
Is Road to Respect on the road to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory?
Noel Meade’s Road to Respect is 14/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, giving the horse the fourth best odds. Road to Respect hasn’t won in his last two races finishing third at Leopardstown in December and second at the same racecourse in January. The horse’s December third-place finish saw the gelding slip-up during the event.
Road to Respect finished fourth at the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year behind Native River. Meade is targeting a win at this year’s event and sportsbooks believe Road to Respect could pull off the victory. Road to Respect has eight career wins and with all attention now on the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the ninth may be just around the corner.